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I’m Post-50 So Why Do I Still Care What People Think?

I’ve read several articles and heard many women say that when you get older, you don’t care what people think about you anymore. They said it was very freeing because you could do as you please and not worry about it. I took comfort in knowing that while I might be losing my youthful appearance, I would be gaining the self-assurance not to care.

A perfect example of this was the response of 87-year-old Barbara Bush on the Today Show recently.  When asked whether her son, Jeb, should run for President, she calmly said, “There are other people out there that are very qualified, and we’ve had enough Bushes.”  Apparently, she didn’t feel the need to vet her answer with Jeb ahead of time.  Gotta love that!

Well, I’m post-50 now, and I’m still waiting for the cloak of confidence to come over me and make my inhibitions and insecurities disappear. I’m still waiting to wake up one day and not waste one more minute fretting about trivial things like how I look or how I cook.

Since I’m still waiting, I made a list of topics where I could use a boost of confidence. Below each topic, I’ve listed why I do care and why I don’t care what people think. See what you think, (not that I care):

1) Physical Appearance:

I do care about my physical appearance, and my goal is to “look pretty good for my age”.  I exercise, eat reasonably and employ a drug store of beauty products to try to achieve it.  Below are three of my favorite products.  The No7 Advanced Renewal Anti-Ageing Glycolic Peel Kit is gentle but makes my skin feel very smooth.  The Nioxin System 3 Shampoo & Scalp Therapy Conditioner thickens fine, chemically treated hair like mine.  The Oil of Olay Facial Hair Removal Duo removes my peach fuzz quickly and painlessly.

I don’t care how much I weigh as long as I’m exercising regularly and can fit into my clothes.

2) Fashion:

I do care that I dress appropriately for my age.  I promised my sons I wouldn’t wear my yoga pants to a basketball game like the teenage girls do. “That would be gross, Mom!”  But I would never wear high-waisted “Mom” jeans either – even more gross, in my opinion.

I don’t care if I wear the newest fashion trends mainly because I don’t have the guts. Check out my fashionable friend below who was way ahead of the trends in 1989, especially in Iowa, and had the confidence to wear this headband to my wedding.  I could only hope to ever be this brave with fashion.

3) My Home:

I do care how my house looks and smells if someone happens to pop by or is invited to my home.  I don’t want them to be able to detect that our dog has had some urinary issues or some ants have decided to come in from the rain.  Yuck!  Is it so wrong that I want people to come to my house and not be grossed out?

I don’t care if my house is perfectly decorated.  I aspire to fairly neat, clean and very comfortable.

4) Cooking/Entertaining:

I do care that we try to serve yummy food when we have people over.  I fret over this because I don’t cook a lot so my repertoire of delicious dishes is limited.  I have learned that it’s okay to supplement with restaurant or deli food, and that helps.  If all else fails, I serve my guests a little extra wine or beer and hope they don’t notice the food is subpar.

I don’t care if our house gets messy when we have a party as long as it’s clean at the start.  It’s more important to me that I talk to all my guests and everyone has a good time, including me!

5) Likability/Having friends:

I do care that some people like me, trust me and want to hang out with me. Having friends is very important to me because I’m not close to many of my family members.  Sometimes it’s hard but I try to keep in touch with friends both close by and far away.

I don’t care if I’m popular with the masses. (Oops!  What am I saying? I write a blog!) I like my close, personal friendships best and like to spend as much one-on-one time with them as I can.

6) Voicing my opinion/Speaking my mind:

I do care that I keep up with politics and current events and formulate my own opinions.  I was taught that it wasn’t proper to discuss politics, sex or religion.  Now I think it’s okay to discuss controversial issues with your spouse or good friends because it opens your mind to other viewpoints than your own. My blogs are my opinions, and I’m guessing that as I get more comfortable and confident, some hot-button issues may find their way into my blogs.

I don’t care if my spouse, friends or acquaintances agree or disagree with me.

7) Smart/Successful/Contributing to society:

I do care that people think I’m a somewhat intelligent, thoughtful person who contributes to society by trying to make them laugh, cry and feel they’re not alone via my blog.

I don’t care if I make a lot of money these days.  That’s not how I define success now.

I don’t know if I’ll ever throw caution to the wind and say and do
anything I want without worrying about it later.  I’m sure I’ll move in
that direction as I mature but I think I’ll always have my share of
insecurities. It’s just not in my DNA to be so carefree, and that’s
okay.

This quote on aging, by novelist, Doris Lessing, really spoke to me:

“The great secret that all old people share is that you really haven’t changed in 70 or 80 years. Your body changes but you don’t change at all.”

 

Posted in Kathi Prien.

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